Radiant Energy Defined

Professor Langley showed that out of the total amount of radiation coming from the Sun, only 19% is represented by the visible portion of the spectrum. Is there only one kind of energy radiated from the sun–light, heat and chemical effects depend entirely upon the state or condition which radiant energy may happen to fall on matter?

Professor Langley wrote that up until 1872 it was almost universally believed that there were three different kinds of entities–actinic, luminous and thermal, represented in the spectrum. There is only one radiant energy that appears to us as ‘actinic,’ or ‘luminous,’ or ‘thermal’ radiation, according to the way we observe it. Heat and light, therefore, can not be things in themselves, but separate sensations to our bodily sensors. They are merely effects of this mysterious thing called “radiant energy.”

The Italian physicist Melloni stated that, “light is merely a series of caloric indications sensible to the organs of sight, or vice versa, the radiations of obscure heat are veritable invisible radiations of light.” Melloni wrote this in 1843, but it was not adopted until Langley by his elaborate researches, more refined and complex, proved it. The great physicists of society then adopted the doctrine of one radiant energy.

Only a few researchers know the immediate effect of radiant energy, electromagnetic. The results of two centuries of observation all point to this conclusion. When a mighty tongue of white-hot matter darts across the abyss of a large spot or cavern on the Sun, the equilibrium of the Earth’s magnetic field is disturbed and the effect is a magnetic storm. The needles of magnetographs throughout the world shiver, tremble and oscillate. The vibrations take place on opposite sides of our planet, the impulse passes from the Sun to the side nearest of the Earth and then to the most distant side, whether through or around the Planet’s surface.

After centuries of investigation from Gilbert to Tesla, this most wonderful research still holds admiration and mystery for all that study this vast science, electrodynamics. Power is cut out of the seemingly emptiness of space, and the hurrying waves are caught and chained to servitude in artificial light and electric appliances. The Sun being electromagnetic emits waves that carry power, beat and surge against the Earth. A magnetic field is space that surrounds a magnet. This space might be filled with air, wood, stone, glass, or might be a vacuum, but the waves are not quenched. They flow through all these things. A freely suspended magnet in a magnetic field will move, and the Earth’s surface is surrounded by a magnetic field, that is acted upon by the Sun’s magnetic field. Suspend a sewing needle by a silk fiber in the Earth’s magnetic field and it will come to rest parallel to the field’s north and south poles. Now, let this field become disturbed–that is, become stronger or weaker and the needle will move. This is a magnetic storm. When a gas jet is hurled across a spot on the Sun the disturbance reaches the Earth in the same time that light does, so radiance traveling at 186,000 miles per second, reaching the Earth is in eight minutes and nineteen seconds.

The most memorable magnetic storm occurred on November 17, 1882. This was one of the most violent recorded. The daily press was burdened with accounts of widespread magnetic disturbance, in some places telegraphic communication was suspended. The turbulence filled that great quadrilateral from New York to Yankton, Nashville and Winnipeg. In Milwaukee the carbons in the electric lamps were lighted, rendered incandescent by currents of electricity flowing on the wires. At other locations, switchboards in telegraph offices were set on fire and sending keys were melted, while electric balls were seen hovering on the telegraph in Nebraska.

The Earth’s aurora holds the key to harnessing the Sun’s daily pulsation. An aurora is the visible effect of obscure undulations from the Sun, as they come dashing on the Earth with a speed of 186,000 miles per second. In a six-month winter, say at the North Pole of the Earth, the Sun is far south of the equator, and none of its rays can shine on the Earth’s northern pole. However, the aurora is very bright. It displays many colors, and these flash and glow with rapid variations. The light, although caused by the Sun, does not come direct. It is caused by the turbulence set up in the Earth’s magnetic field by electromagnetic upheaval on the Sun. The field of the Earth is “tuned” with the Sun’s field, as was the coherers in the days of wireless telegraphy and telephony. The aurora is known to be electrical, for magnets and compass needles on ships are always affected. Could these coherers of the days of old teach us something new?

No magnet can be placed near a “current” of electricity, or a static charge without making an oscillation. Every oscillation sends out a wave, like a stone falling in water. An electromagnetic wave from the Sun disturbs the Earth’s magnetic field in the same way that an induction coil used in wireless telegraphy does. The Earth and coherer are both doing the same thing with the same kind of electromagnetic waves. The coherer in a distant receiving station will react to natural electromagnetic wave fronts from the Sun. It will likewise react to the artificial wave fronts coming from the induction coil. The electromagnetic wave makes the loose particles of metal between the knobs in the glass tube coherer form a wire for each dot and dash, and thus switch in a local battery.

Making a device “oscillate with the oscillations of the Universe” may not be too far off the mark in obtaining energy. Wouldn’t it be more correct to say, “make a device oscillate with the oscillations of the SUN and EARTH?”

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